Since the 25th of February, 2015 the memorial museum of Ilya Repin “Penates” has been hosting an exhibition dedicated to the oeuvre of Maria Polenova, a female artist from the first half of the 19th century and a mother of two outstanding artists: Vasily Polenov (1844-1927) and Elena Polenova (1850-1898). Displayed works are from the collection of the State memorial museum of Vasily Polenov.
The Polenovs family, with no doubt, is now considered to be one of the brightest phenomena in the art of the 19th century and early 20th century. Vasily Polenov once said that his passion for painting was inherited from his mother; whether he inherited her talent, he added, is to be decided by future generations.
Maria Alekseevna Polenova (nee Voieykova) was a talented portrait artist. Her mother, who grew up in a manor of a famous Russian poet from the late 18th century Gavril Derzjavin, provided her daughter with a fine classical education and supported her passion for art. In 1834 Maria Polenova got married to a diplomat, and dabbled in history and archeology D. Polenov (1806-1878). Though her husband Maria Polenova happened to know many art and cultural activists amongst whom were celebrated academic artists Karl Brullov and Fyodor Bruni. However, in the 19th century women were not allowed to enter any Art Academy. Therefore she studied art in a private studio owned by the academic painter K.A. Moldavsky and became a professional artist: her drawings satisfied all the requirements the Art Academy had at that time.
At those times along with the romantic landscape genre another genre was as popular: a costumed portrait. This very genre is represented in drawings by Maria Polenova at the exhibition. Visitors will also find portraits of the Polenov family created during different decades. The oeuvre of Maria Polenova was not only a great role model for her children, future famous artists, but also influenced their choice in becoming artists.
The exhibition will be interesting not only for the art historians and specialists 19th century culture but for art lovers as well.
The exhibition is open daily from 10.30 to 16.00 except on Monday and Tuesday in the memorial museum of Ilya Repin “Penates”.